BURNING MAN ART GRANTS
Every year Burning Man issues a small number of grants for the purpose of partially funding specific art projects. We look for work that stands on its own as physical, sculptural installation, independent of performances or activities, although these may accompany the installation.
To learn more about the art grant opportunities in the 2013 Man Pavilion, click here.
It's important to know that making artwork for Burning Man is very challenging, due to the difficulties inherent in creating anything in a harsh wilderness setting, with unpredictable weather, high winds, and lots of playa dust. You're definitely going to want to know what you're getting into (and for this reason, we recommend that you attend Burning Man once before applying for funding). Read up on what it takes to attend, and make art for Burning Man here:
Here are some answers to a few frequent questions:
How many grants are awarded?
Very few. Burning Man is not the NEA and we possess no endowment. Nearly all of the art you will witness at Burning Man is entirely paid for by participants themselves. Most proposals submitted to us will not receive funding.
When may I apply for a grant?
The deadline for emailed grant proposals is February 1, at 11:59 AM PST. No exceptions. We much prefer that you email your proposal, but if you cannot, whatever you mail to us must be received before February 1, at 11:59 AM PST.
How is the Temple selected?
We review and select the proposal for the Temple during the same review cycle of all the other art grant proposals. Artists who build Temples in Black Rock City are not just building a large-scale art project. They’re creating something for the community and fulfilling a civic need. If you feel drawn to create the Temple, one of the first questions you should ask is not “WHAT am I doing this for?” but rather “WHO am I doing this for?”
How do you decide on a Temple?
It’s really important that the concept for the Temple spiritually resonates, and that it’s a shared community art piece. Many see it as our emotional nexus for Black Rock City. We look for designs that are both intimate and immense – with many small areas (often called altars) for participants to leave tributes, as well as one or more large gathering spaces, holding hundreds (possibly a thousand) at a time.
When will I know if I've been awarded a grant?
Most final decisions will be made no later than March 1, and you will be notified early in March.
Should I be awarded a grant, how much will I receive?
This varies with particular projects. However, grants normally pay for only a portion of production costs. We pay for material costs, but not for time/labor. Artists should be ready to seek out and show proof of other methods and sources of funding. As a matter of policy, we also prefer that you develop various kinds of non-monetary resources. We believe that such an effort on your part encourages collaboration and cooperation within our extended community.
How much money should I ask for?
Our annual budget for playa art is around $700,000. We typically fund between 30-45 art projects. Grants over $20,000 are rare. If you apply on the day of the deadline with a hugely expensive project, we cannot assume that if we partially fund it, you'll be able to fundraise the rest of the money on your own - nor would we assume that you could do a greatly reduced version of the project. At that point we do not have time to go back to you to work out a smaller project.
If you are looking for partial funding YOU MUST TELL US. Specify the amount. For example: tell us that your project will cost $50K but that you're asking us for $10K, and that you'll fundraise the balance. Another option is to give us a sliding scale budget. For example, a small, medium and large version of your project at corresponding prices. Whatever your budget is, we will go through it line by line, and discuss each cost. Every dollar saved on one funded project is used to help other funded projects. We want to help as many artists as possible bring interactive art to Black Rock City.
When and how will I receive money?
This will also vary from project to project. A separate schedule of payment is developed for each artist. The money you receive is taxable and requires a 1099 tax form that we will provide you. You will also be asked to sign a contract.
Who is responsible for keeping my installation safe?
Burning Man believes strongly in radical self-reliance, one of our ten principles. Ensuring your artwork does not physically harm anyone is a key responsibility of the artist. Rangers are on playa to help participants, not guard art, so it's important that the artist creates safeguards for maintaining their art.
I’d love to have my art installation in my camp and get an honorarium for it. Is that possible?
No. We fund art that is placed on the open playa, so as many citizens of Black Rock City can enjoy it as possible.
Should I include the cost for tickets and fuel for my flame effects and generators in my proposal?
If awarded a grant, we will give you some tickets for you and your crew to attend the event. We'll work closely with you to identify how many are needed. It's very important that you include the estimated cost for fuel for any flame effects or generators used as a part of your installation. The estimated number of gallons for these items should be part of your proposed budget.
What are your criteria for awarding grants?
Whether we like it.
Interactivity with people and the environment. Interactive art is our particular obsession. Interactive work convenes society around itself. It generates roles. It provokes actions. It directs attention to the surrounding world. It transforms participants into active contributors to your creative process. It transcends the static conception of an art object that is contemplated by a detached audience.
Interaction may be achieved in variety of ways. Sometimes, the mere act of encounter is sufficient, as in the case of work spread out within a special field of space participants explore. Artwork may impart a gift or token. Likewise, works may be designed to receive something from people. Works may be activated by participants or by forces of nature, or they may function as social environments. Interactive artworks may also be made mobile, bringing an experience to passersby. Many times, when art is placed within the intensely interactive environment of Black Rock City, participants will invent unexpected forms of interaction, and you should be prepared for this.
There will always be a place and time within the sphere of art for the perfect object-- something so astonishing in itself that the simple act of contemplation is reward enough-- and this, in a way, defines the essential nature and value of art. However, with planning, we have found nearly any form of conventional art can be engendered with an interactive aspect.
The thoroughness of your proposal. We will not review and consider proposals that are not complete (e.g. they do not contain all the requested information). If you don't include a detailed budget, or a construction schedule, or at least one drawing, it is difficult for the grant committee to fully consider your project.
- Impact of your art. We want as many participants to see and enjoy your art as possible. This does not mean we only fund large art, but we do select installations that can have a large impact.
What we do fund:
- Interactive Art
- Art related to the theme, and art not related to the theme
- Mobile art - sculptures that move and do not resemble a car
What we do not fund:
- Activities or performances
- DJs and amplified sounds
- Domes, tents, teepees or stages
- Mutant vehicles
- Theme camps
- Food and flights
- Anything illegal in the state of Nevada. While Burning Man is a private event, we are still governed by the laws of the state of Nevada.
What other benefits or help can I receive from Burning Man?
Aside from the essential spiritual satisfaction gained from creating your work, as well as showing it and sharing it with tens of thousands of very enthusiastic people, Burning Man can also furnish you with other opportunities. We are willing to provide you with support materials if you wish to approach outside agencies or suppliers for assistance. All installations, funded or not, will be featured on our website and in our Black Rock City gate handout, the What Where When guide.
Be sure to photograph your work!!! At the event, hundreds of photographers, amateur and professional, may also photograph your work. These appear in our Image Gallery and in the art listings on our website. Burning Man is also covered by an international array of media. It is the mission of our art department and our staff at Media Mecca to connect these journalists with artists.
Burning Man is also a fertile meeting ground for artists and patrons of the arts. Although vending is strictly disallowed at the event, artists at Burning Man are free to encounter potential clients for their work in an environment free of agents, dealers or any of the other professional intermediaries who normally interpose themselves in the creative process. Burning Man is a radically unmediated environment and can yield unique opportunities. While on the playa, our volunteer staff will assist you in placing your art at its assigned location. Although we prefer that you remain completely self-sufficient, our Artists' Support Services team can assist you with heavy equipment if needed. All requests for this support should be included in your proposal.
What is the process for applying for a grant?
Burning Man accepts grant proposals until noon Pacific Standard Time, February 1st. Any late submissions will not be considered. Also, please make sure to only email the final version of your proposal. We will only review one version of a proposal. Make sure your proposal includes all the required information – proposals without images or budgets or project plans WILL NOT be considered.
Burning Man has developed a PDF form for submitting an art grant proposal. This is the only format we will accept for grant proposals.
If you are interested in applying for a grant, please continue on to the submission guidelines and the art grant proposal form.